This is not an uncomplicated time to be the Irish prime minister. Brexit is tumbling toward some sort of conclusion, threatening the incredibly peace and stability of Ireland. The country’s closest neighbor and biggest trading companion, Britain, is tied in political knots.

If you are Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach of Ireland (prime minister, pronounced tee-shock), it is not a poor time to seek escape in the motion pictures.

Varadkar spent two days in Los Angeles this final week, opening Ireland’s newest consulate and reaching out to the film sector, in element as a buffer for his country’s economy in a looming post-Brexit planet. In an interview with The Instances on Friday, he spoke about the challenges of Brexit, the possibilities for Ireland’s film sector and, from his point of view as one particular of the world’s only openly gay heads of government, hesitantly presented some assistance to a would-be peer,Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

“I suppose if I’d say something to Mayor Buttigieg, it would be: There’s really no purpose why the individual you enjoy should really in any way limit your capability to attain the major of your profession. That is what I’d say to everyone in the LGBT neighborhood. And America, you know, has been a top light in the planet for a lot of us who who are element of the LGBT neighborhood.”

Given that his election in 2017, Varadkar has been on a mission to expand Ireland’s worldwide footprint, a project that has taken on renewed urgency as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. Varadkar’s Republic of Ireland is an EU member, but neighboring Northern Ireland is element of the United Kingdom, which is scheduled to depart the EU on Oct. 31, barring an additional extension.

The new L.A. consulate, which becomes Ireland’s seventh in the United States, is element of that worldwide expansion, and is intended, in element, to offer a base for the nation to boost its function in the film sector.

Varadkar came to L.A. following U.N. Basic Assembly meetings in New York. Even though in California, he visited Warner Bros., Disney and Netflix and met with Fox Searchlight and Hulu, as effectively as with Element Photos, an Irish production business possibly greatest recognized for co-making the 2015 film “Room,” which won a greatest actress Oscar for Brie Larson.

“There’s currently a fantastic ecosystem amongst L.A. and Ireland,” he mentioned. “You know, there’s a lot of Irish actors right here, a lot of Irish firms right here. Some men and women will be familiar with Element Photos and so on. But we’d like to see the American firms in distinct taking the chance to use a lot more of our studio space in Ireland, do a lot more filming in Ireland.”

“Certainly what we’re carrying out is, in element, in response to Brexit,” he mentioned, “but it is a thing that I would argue we should really be carrying out anyway.”

Brexit remains Varadkar’s most vexing challenge, largely due to the fact a so-named “hard Brexit” — one particular without having a deal laying out a new connection amongst Britain and the EU — would close the open border betweenNorthern Ireland and the Irish republic and impose a customs regime and tariffs on goods flowing amongst the two.

That could badly harm the economies on each sides, but Ireland has a higher be concerned: that the border will bring back the sectarian strife in Northern Ireland that largely ended with the Superior Friday Agreement, which went into impact in 1999. That ended decades of bloody conflict recognized as “The Troubles” in the North, which is practically evenly divided amongst Protestants and Catholics. The Republic of Ireland remains solidly Catholic.

“The largest danger for us in terms of Brexit is divergence — that Britain becomes a lot more distinct from Europe, becomes a lot more distinct from Ireland, and that, hence, pulls the communities apart in Northern Ireland as well,” Varadkar mentioned.

That, he added, is “the basic dilemma of Brexit: The European Union [and] the Superior Friday Agreement are all about convergence. They’re all about coming collectively, harmonization, standardization. Brexit is about diverging, splitting apart once more, and that creates actual dangers for Northern Ireland.”

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